Report Title:

Halfway House; Definition



Defines halfway houses for the purpose of county zoning. (SD1)


S.B. NO.



S.D. 1






Relating to halfway HOUSES.



SECTION 1. The legislature finds that there are increasing community concerns regarding halfway houses, and where they are being located. All group living facilities are required by the city and county of Honolulu (hereafter city) to obtain a conditional permit, but before they can do so, they have to present their plans to the neighborhood board. Although the city's department of planning and permitting requires a conditional use permit for group living facilities, the legislature finds that the definition provides insufficient assurances that all types of halfway houses are covered. "Group living facility" is defined in relevant part by the land use ordinance to mean "facilities which are used to provide living accommodations and in some cases, care services. Included are monasteries and convents and dwelling units which are used to provide living accommodations and care services under a residential setting to individuals who are handicapped, aged, disabled, or undergoing rehabilitation. These are typically identified as group homes, halfway houses,...". Although this definition clearly covers halfway houses, "halfway house" is not defined except as a facility with members undergoing rehabilitation. Thus, the purpose of this Act is to define halfway house in the county zoning laws to clarify which types of living facilities are required to obtain a conditional use permit for all counties.

SECTION 2. Section 46-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"46-4 County zoning. (a) This section and any ordinances or rules and regulations adopted in accordance with it, shall apply to those lands not contained within the forest reserve boundaries as established on January 31, 1957, or as subsequently amended.

Zoning in all counties shall be accomplished within the framework of a long range, comprehensive general plan prepared or being prepared to guide the overall future development of the county. Zoning shall be one of the tools available to the county to put the general plan into effect in an orderly manner. Zoning in the counties of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai means the establishment of districts of such number, shape, and area, and the adoption of regulations for each district as shall be deemed best suited to carry out the purposes of this section. In establishing or regulating the districts, full consideration shall be given to all available data as to soil classification and physical use capabilities of the land so as to allow and encourage the most beneficial use of the land consonant with good zoning practices. The zoning power granted herein shall be exercised by ordinance which may relate to:

(1) The areas within which agriculture, forestry, industry, trade, and business may be conducted.

(2) The areas in which residential uses may be regulated or prohibited.

(3) The areas bordering natural watercourses, channels, and streams, in which trades or industries, filling or dumping, erection of structures, and the location of buildings may be prohibited or restricted.

(4) The areas in which particular uses may be subjected to special restrictions.

(5) The location of buildings and structures designed for specific uses and designation of uses for which buildings and structures may not be used or altered.

(6) The location, height, bulk, number of stories, and size of buildings and other structures.

(7) The location of roads, schools, and recreation areas.

(8) Building setback lines and future street lines.

(9) The density and distribution of population.

(10) The percentage of lot which may be occupied, size of yards, courts, and other open spaces.

(11) Minimum and maximum lot sizes.

(12) Other such regulations as may be deemed by the boards or city council as necessary and proper to permit and encourage orderly development of land resources within their jurisdictions.

The council of any county shall prescribe such rules and regulations and administrative procedures and provide such personnel as it may deem necessary for the enforcement of this section and any ordinance enacted in accordance therewith. The ordinances may be enforced by appropriate fines and penalties, civil or criminal, or by court order at the suit of the county or the owner or owners of real estate directly affected by the ordinances.

Any civil fine or penalty provided by ordinance under this section may be imposed by the district court, or by the zoning agency after an opportunity for a hearing, pursuant to chapter 91. Such a proceeding shall not be a prerequisite for any injunctive relief ordered by the circuit court.

Nothing in this section shall invalidate any zoning ordinances or regulation adopted by any county or other agency of government pursuant to the statutes in effect prior to July 1, 1957.

The powers granted herein shall be liberally construed in favor of the county exercising them, and in such a manner as to promote the orderly development of each county or city and county in accord with a long range, comprehensive, general plan, and to insure the greatest benefit for the State as a whole. This section shall not be construed to limit or repeal any powers now possessed by any county to achieve the ends through zoning and building regulations, except insofar as forest and water reserve zones are concerned and as provided in subsections (c) and (d).

Neither this section nor any ordinance enacted under this section shall prohibit the continuance of the lawful use of any building or premises for any trade, industry, residential, agricultural, or other purpose for which the building or premises is used at the time this section or the ordinance takes effect; provided that a zoning ordinance may provide for elimination of nonconforming uses as the uses are discontinued or for the amortization or phasing out of nonconforming uses or signs over a reasonable period of time in commercial, industrial, resort, and apartment zoned areas only. In no event shall such amortization or phasing out of nonconforming uses apply to any existing building or premises used for residential (single family or duplex) or agricultural uses. Nothing in this section shall affect or impair the powers and duties of the director of transportation as set forth in chapter 262.

(b) Any final order of a zoning agency established under this section may be appealed to the circuit court of the circuit in which the land in question is found. The appeal shall be in accord with the Hawaii rules of civil procedure.

(c) Each county may adopt reasonable standards to allow the construction of two single-family dwelling units on any lot where a residential dwelling unit is permitted.

(d) Neither this section nor any other law, county ordinance, or rule shall prohibit group living in facilities with eight or fewer residents and which are licensed by the State as provided for under section 321-15.6 or in an intermediate care facility/mental retardation-community (ICF/MR-C) for persons, including the mentally ill, elders, the handicapped, the developmentally disabled, or totally disabled persons, who are not related to the home operator or facility staff; provided that those group living facilities meet all applicable county requirements, not inconsistent with the intent of this subsection and including building height, setback, maximum lot coverage, parking, and floor area requirements. For purposes of this section:

"Mentally ill person" means a mentally ill person as defined under section 334-1.

"Elder" means an elder as defined under section 201G-1.

"Handicapped person" means an individual with a physical handicap as defined under section 515-2.

"Developmentally disabled person" means a person suffering from developmental disabilities as defined under section 333F-2.

"Totally disabled person" means a person totally disabled as defined under section 235-1.

"Intermediate care facility/mental retardation-community (ICF/MR-C)" is defined as an identifiable unit providing residence and care for eight or fewer mentally retarded individuals. Its primary purpose is the provision of health, social, and rehabilitation services to the mentally retarded through an individually designed active treatment program for each resident. No person who is predominately confined to bed shall be admitted as a resident of such a facility.

(e) No permit for the operation of a halfway house shall be granted by a county agency without first conducting a public informational meeting in the affected community. The permit shall require that the State provide the appropriate community notification if necessary, under chapter 846E.

For the purpose of any applicable zoning permit from the appropriate county agency, "halfway house" means a group living facility where people who have been released or are under supervised release from a correctional facility or mental institution, or who are receiving drug abuse or sex offender treatment, are housed to undergo rehabilitation programs that help them readjust to the outside world. It may be a facility that provides housing, meals, supervision, guidance, and other programs for correctional or rehabilitative purposes."

SECTION 3. The amendments in this Act shall be prospective and shall not apply to any permits for a halfway house in effect upon the effective date of this Act.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.